Sadly it doesn't look like the Tremors franchise has much chance of continuing.
Tremors is one of those strange franchises that went further than anyone could have ever imagined. After the first film became a surprise hit, we ended up getting six more feature films and even a short-lived television series on SyFy. Since the last film came out three years ago, fans have been wondering when or even if we’re going to get another movie, but it doesn’t look like that is ever going to happen.
The Tremors Movies Kept Getting Worse
Why are we unlikely to get another Tremors film? For one thing, even the biggest fans of the franchise should be honest enough to admit that we just kept getting diminishing returns from these films. Since the first movie, all of the sequels (and that one weird prequel) have been direct-to-video affairs for the simple reason that studios can’t imagine this particular monster movie franchise being a very big draw at the box office.
A big part of those diminishing returns is the diminishing core cast. Part of the fun of the first Tremors film is that it was surprisingly packed with stars, including relatively big names like Kevin Bacon and Reba McEntire. But those two left after the first film, and after the second movie, the only series mainstay was Michael Gross, who is always entertaining but couldn’t easily carry a movie franchise on his own.
The Tremors Casts Kept Losing Stars
Because the other movies are creatively bankrupt and the Tremors franchise has no really big names left to it, Universal Pictures initially made a decision to solve two birds with one stone. Specifically, they began work on a Tremors reboot that was going to be directed by Bill Watterson, the acclaimed director of Dave Made a Maze. This would allow the franchise to return to its roots of simple dudes fighting Graboids, and the recasting was doubly necessary because the last film in the franchise finally killed the Burt Gummer character played by Michael Gross.
The death of his iconic character meant that many fans already saw Tremors: Shrieker Island as the finale to the series, and such fans would likely have enjoyed the plans surrounding the reboot. The most important aspect of these plans was that the new film was going to return to using as many practical effects as possible to bring its monsters (creatively-named critters such as Graboids and “ass blasters”) to life.
Later films in the series quickly became infamous for their increasingly awful CGI, and we can’t help but think that Tremors, like Star Wars before it, would benefit from a return to practical effects.
A Planned Reboot Has Been Canceled
Unfortunately, we only found out about the reboot in the worst possible way: when journalist Heather Wixson found out that the new Tremors film had already been canceled. There weren’t too many details surrounding the film, but it looks like the reboot would have taken place outside of the original location of Perfection, Nevada. The movie was also meant to include a touching tribute to Fred Ward, who sadly passed away just last year.
Kevin Bacon Would Return To Tremors
At this point, optimistic fans likely have a big question: is a Tremors reboot getting canceled in the last year the only reason we’re confident we won’t be getting another movie? Sadly, the answer to that is “no,” and we can sum the second reason up with two words: “Kevin Bacon.” Since he left after the first film, many fans assumed he had turned his nose up at the franchise, but the star tweeted earlier this year that he is “just waiting for the call” to return to the mix.
Getting Kevin Bacon back would be the best way to launch this series back into theaters, and the star seems very serious about the franchise. In addition to mentioning his interest in returning for another movie, he starred in the pilot for yet another Tremors TV show, but that show never got picked up. Unfortunately, Universal Pictures ended up canceling plans for their modest direct-to-video reboot even as Bacon was practically begging to come back, and if they didn’t think it could succeed with the return of its biggest name, they likely think it can’t succeed at all.
While it’s easy to be sad about the apparent death of this iconic franchise, it’s also important for fans to face the sobering reality that this film series missed out on its chance to go out on a high note after the second film. The franchise has merely been shambling along since then, resulting in a disappointing final film where the second biggest star was the kid from Napoleon Dynamite.
While it would have been cooler if they used bombs and remote control cars to do it, part of us is happy that Universal finally blew this franchise up for good.